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David M. Barrett, MD, PhD
David M. Barrett
Attending Physician

Dr. Barret's research program focuses on immune function of children with cancer. His research involves investigating possible immune deficiencies that result in children developing cancer and developing immune-based therapies for childhood cancer.



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The focus of Dr. David Barrett’s research is to determine the optimal conditions for adoptive immunotherapy using autologous T cells and chimeric antigen receptors targeting tumor surface antigens. Specifically, he investigates the optimal conditions for both T cell manufacture as well as the mechanism of the toxic cytokine release syndrome. As a result of his work isolating and studying both T cells and leukemia cells from pediatric patients, he has developed an intense interest in further characterizing the mechanisms of tumor immune escape.

Specifically, Dr. Barrett studies the effects of chemotherapy on T cell function, with the aim of understanding the effects of each chemo regimen on T cell function to better design and deliver immune based therapies. He also investigates CAR T cells and the predictive biomarkers of successful T cell persistence, with the aim of devising strategies to convert poor persisting T cell therapies to long lasting ones.

In addition, Dr. Barrett investigates cytokine release syndrome, a toxic side effect of CAR T therapy, to uncover the triggering mechanisms for this toxicity and devise strategies to mitigate it; immune function of children with cancer, to determine the effects of the tumor on peripheral blood T cells as well as any pre-existing deficits that may have allowed tumor formation; and lymphatic fluid analysis, to better understand T cell biology and potentially exploit these differences for more effective immune therapies.

Education and Training

BA, Princeton University (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), 1995

MS, Virginia Commonwealth University (Biomedical Engineering), 1997

PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University (Molecular Biology and Genetics), 2004

MD, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2004

Fellow, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pediatric Hematology and Oncology), 2010

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Pediatrics, 2004-

American Medical Society, 2004-

American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 2008-

American Association for Cancer Research, 2008-

International Society for the Biological Therapy of Cancer, 2009-

Professional Awards

Presidential Travel Award, International Society for the Biological Therapy of Cancer, 2009

Scholar in Training Award, American Association for Cancer Research, 2010

Young Investigator Award, American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 2011

St. Baldrick's Foundation Scholar, 2012

Young Investigator Research Award, First Annual Immuno-Oncology Forum, 2015

Publication Highlights

Links of Interest